Another poor start led to another loss for the Barrie Colts.
Unfortunately for them, the remainder of their 6-2 defeat to the Niagara IceDogs, Saturday night, at the Colts Centre wasn’t much better.
“They were hungrier, they were smarter and they won the game,” Barrie head coach Warren Rychel, clearly frustrated, said after the contest.
Video: Coffee with Warren Rychel
Coffee with the Colts
Episode 1 of Coffee with the Barrie Colts Official Facebook Page ft. Warren Rychel.Posted by Barrie 360 on Friday, November 22, 2019
The Colts have now played one-game weeks in two of the last three weeks, but asked if the light OHL schedule has contributed to their slow starts and sluggish play of late, Rychel was having none of it.
“No excuses. We just didn’t do the right things,” he said. “We had a lot of guys that weren’t prepared. It starts with a good start. We know it’s one game on the weekend, but we got to get going a lot harder than that. Not a lot of good things happening out there.
“Not a team effort. We had a lot of guys that were no good basically and that’s the bottom line.”
Ivan Lodnia scored his first of three on the night just 34 seconds into the contest and the visitors never trailed after that.
Jonah De Simone, Philip Tomasino and Akil Thomas, shorthanded, also scored to help goaltender Christian Sbaraglia bag his first win of the season for the IceDogs (9-11-3-1), who have won four straight to move within three points of Barrie for second place in the Central Division.
Ian Lemieux, with his first OHL goal, and Victor Hadfield replied for Barrie (12-8-0-1), which dropped its second straight.
“It’s been weird for us,” Colts defenceman Nathan Allensen said of the one-game weekends. “We’ve had a couple of these lately. It’s not really (familiar territory for) much of the older guys. We usually have three-in-threes or at least two-game weekends, so it’s a little different.
“It’s probably our starts that we got to look at and just be better at that.”
Tied 2-2 after the first period, Niagara’s NHL prospects gave the visitors control early in the second when Lodnia (Minnesota) potted his second of the game at 6:08 and a Tomasino (Nashville), left all alone in front, buried one a little more than four minutes later.
The Colts pressed a bit after that in the frame, including a late power-play opportunity, but Lodnia completed the hat trick and took the air out of any chance for a Barrie comeback when he raced in on a breakaway and slid it under goaltender Arturs Silovs just 1:11 into the third.
“We had the power play at the end (of the second) and it would have been nice to get one,” Rychel said. “We would have been right back in it at 4-3. It just didn’t happen. A couple of goal posts didn’t go our way and the third period was just no good.”
The Colts 25th celebration ceremony before the contest was an emotional one with head coach Dale Hawerchuk returning to the Colts Centre for the first time since being diagnosed with stomach cancer in August.
The special presentation honoured the longest-serving Colts, including five-year players Hunter Tremblay, Ben Hawerchuk, Zach Hall and current overage forward Aidan Brown. Hawerchuk, who has taken a leave of absence from the club to battle the disease, is the longest-serving coach in franchise history and presented the special award to his son, Ben, who is now playing with the Brampton Beast of the ECHL.
The Hockey Hall of Famer received a loud reception from the 3,604 fans in attendance when he came out on the ice. Allensen admits it was hard fighting back the emotions when the head coach walked into the dressing room before the game.
“It’s great to see him smile,” he said, before taking a deep breath. “It’s tough on us. I saw him in the room earlier and I almost shed a tear. What he’s done for me personally, and what he’s done for the organization and the team, it’s great. He’s battling it right now and we’re all so happy for him having his (happy) face on.
“It’s tough seeing him, but it’s nice to see him smile.”
The Colts have another long week of practice ahead of their next contest in Sudbury on Friday night and then returning home Saturday night to host the Hamilton Bulldogs.
“It’s always tough losing, but we go back to work Monday and just got to look forward to next weekend,” Allensen said. “We got big games next weekend, so we just got to look forward to that and practice hard this week.”
ICE CHIPS: Colts forward Nicholas Porco was playing with a heavy heart after losing his grandfather earlier in the day. . . Tyson Foerster went pointless and had his 13-game scoring streak (9-13-22) come to an end. . . Ryan Suzuki (eye) remains week-to-week. . .Niagara outshot Barrie, 40-36. . . Former Colt forward Matthew Bragg was also in attendance last night.
banner image via TERRY WILSON/OHL IMAGES